I Had A Disturbing Dream

I had a disturbing dream, and I can’t focus on writing about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Yes, I had a ridiculous dream last night. And I woke up this morning to write an entry (because I didn’t yesterday, like I was supposed to) but my brain swims now with this nightmare.

I dreamed I was traveling abroad in Southeast Asia as a tourist. And I was taking a picture of this stupa – as are so common in Southeast Asia – when three or four people in military dress aggressively approached me. “Hey,” one of them said in broken English, “you no picture that,” as he grabbed my arm. They surrounded me and grabbed both my arms.

Momentarily, I considered resisting. After all, I’m kinda okay at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and I was a lot bigger than my four antagonists. But they had rifles…and since I started getting pretty good at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I developed this fear that if I ever actually resist against official-type people (police officers, for example) with guns, they’re just going to shoot me. From the perspective of the police officer, I’d be impossible to pin and arrest. It “makes” so much more sense to “just shoot me.”1

“No…I’ve never taken a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class in my life.  In fact, I would not know a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu if I saw one.  I promise.”

Anyway. I don’t resist, because I don’t want to get shot. I was in a foreign country; I don’t know the laws. What is an appropriate punishment for taking a photo of some sacred stupa? A fine? I’m ready to dole out a bribe or two in a third-world country. Who isn’t, right?

The next thing I remember about my dream is being stuck in a dank, awful cell. Bribing obviously did not go as planned. Looking at the terrible surroundings, I wish I had resisted. God knows what was in store for me.

Then something happens. I realize where I am. I realize what’s going to happen to me. I’m in Cambodia. And though it has been something like 35 years since anyone had been abducted by the Khmer Rouge, I knew somehow that I was being taken to the Killing Fields.

It was night, now. I was in my cell. In the morning, I was to be tortured and almost certainly killed by it (or just outright killed). I was starving. Everything sweats with moisture in my brick enclosure. How far was I underground? I looked at the bars to see if there was some way I could possibly escape.

Instead what I found was a desktop computer. It wasn’t there before, but it was now.2 And it was connected to the internet. So I did the only thing any rational person would do when facing their certain demise while in possession of a computer with high-speed internet: I read the Wiki page for The Killing Fields and looked up photos of what they did to their victims. I did research about what was going to happen to me tomorrow.3 Goddamn it, it was only bad news. Bad News Bears for The Jiu-Jitsu Wanderer.

I woke up this afternoon with my last clear memory of the dream – me sitting on the computer looking at bodies in the Killing Fields in various stages of decomposition, people mangled by bamboo sticks, rocks, bullets, disfigured by starvation, and, particularly haunting, amputations-as-punishments – threw the sheets off my body, and made a mad scramble for my coffeemaker.

“I had an awful nightmare right now,” I said to my roommate, shuddering, and scooping coffee into the paper filter.

“Oh yeah?” he responded as he opened the fridge.

“I was about to be killed, I think.”

“Was it about zombies? Cause zombies, bro, are Sear-E-Us. I hate zombies.”

Thanks for reading. Next week, I’m going to write about the various sorts of training I’ve been doing to ramp up for the upcoming tournament.


1. Being shot or otherwise brutalized by the police is an unfortunate reality in America:




I literally have dozens of examples.

2. Dreams don’t have to make sense, I guess.

3. I realize now I should have maybe gotten on Reddit, and asked for help. Or Facebook. Or maybe I should have just written my mother a nice email. I’m so thoughtless in my dreams sometimes.


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